POZ Review: Transit – Listen & Forgive (Reissue)

5-piece Stoneham, MA based alternative indie rock band Transit put out their Rise Records debut, Listen & Forgive, in October of 2011; now, Rise has reissued the album in an expanded format. Consistently touching on the themes of identity, fears, secrets and love, the band tells all-too-familiar stories that everyone can relate to at some point in their lives. We’ve heard it all before, but Listen & Forgive (Reissue) is not quite the same.

“You have to stop looking for the chorus in everything you’ve lost // as if you orchestrate your failures to give yourself a crutch // a crutch to lean // a crutch to fall // it’s just a poor excuse so I won’t stand at all,” vocalist Joe Boynton slowly articulates at the beginning of new opener “I Told You So”. Leading off the reissued album with a brand new song is certainly a smart way to show a peek of Transit’s prospective work. The guitars, drums, and bass heard in “I Told You So” ignite the spirit of this reissue; the fact that the bass plays a major role on this track is especially admirable. “I used to be afraid of all the things I couldn’t keep // I used to be afraid of all the things I couldn’t change // I used to be afraid but I can change”, Boynton urges; the song is about staying true to who you are and not getting so caught up in the moment that you lose yourself.

Immediately after this track, an alternate version of “Skipping Stone” ensues, which has a newfound resonance. The original recording of “Skipping Stone” was an acoustic track with slightly auto-tuned vocals that stir up deep-rooted emotions because “every memory is like a skipping stone”. With the full band recorded on Listen And Forgive (Reissue), the sound is less raw, fuller and more substantive; the additional instruments provide the vocals with more impact and support. It’s not fair to ask which one is better, as both versions excel in their own separate ways. If anything, it depends on the listener’s personal preference.

The grand finale of Listen & Forgive (Reissue) begins with a beautiful piano introduction followed by a repetitive guitar melody and weightless drumming. “We always say ‘forgive, forget’ // like that will teach us to live without regret,” Boynton hauntingly enunciates. Although this is a slower song, the meaning behind it becomes quickly evident. “Forgive Forget Space (For Future Reference)” stabs directly at its target with straightforward lines like “you’re distant // you’re idealistic // you’re everything I hate in everybody else”. The song seems to center around a relationship where two people clearly were not on the same page and grew apart emotionally; as Boynton sings, “it’s just so hard to miss someone who’s right in front of you all the time.” And in the end, the truth always comes out: “We’re victims of ourselves”.

Transit have done it again with this remarkable reissue. This is the band that everyone should be keeping their eyes and ears on.

4/5 stars

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